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“65 Mustangs” Week 9 Spot Starting & Relief Pitcher Guide. Yu Know Who is Back on the Mound.

Last week I talked about several pitchers who were on the cusp of returning to relevance,  whether by re-emerging from obscurity or returning from injury. It appears that I left out the most important one. If I told Yu that I had purposely held him back so he could have a paragraph or two to himself this week, would Yu have believed me? Perhaps I knew Yu was not pitching until this evening, Saturday, as IDarvish type this paragraph, and that is why I held Yu back. Seriously, we don’t know for sure how effective Yu Darvish, TEX will be, or how many innings he can pitch until we’ve seen him a few times. Recent history shows most pitchers returning from TJ surgery are as good or better than when they were injured, and come back with more velocity. If Yu’s re-hab stint was any indication, 21 K’s in 20 innings with a .900 ERA and .750 WHIP, his re-entry should be pretty seamless for a Rangers staff that has largely held it’s own so far, but has no margin for error after Cole Hamels. They are middle of the pack in League ERA, but are dead last in strikeouts in the AL. Yu could change that. I do feel bad for all the owners who recently scooped up Joey Gallo when he was recalled the other day. (Update: Darvish pitched 5 innings, only giving up 3 hits, a walk and striking out 7. He gave up only 1 run getting credit for the W)

Another pitcher I talked about recently is the suddenly born again Matt Cain of SF. Well. Just as he seemed to have turned the corner, he suffered a hammy strain and went on the DL. At least it was not his arm and he will hopefully be back in a couple of weeks and pick up where he left off. Speaking of Hammy strains,  Josh Hamilton is out for the season. I don’t know why and don’t think it matters anyway. Nor does Chris Stratton, SF for fantasy purposes.  He was brought up to replace Cain, but was rocking an ERA over 6.0 in the minors before the call. Still another SP injury, a sore triceps for Alex Wood, LAD, allowed for the start of the MLB career of Julio Urias, LAD, 19, who was signed out of Mexico at 16 and is one of baseball’s best prospects. He started Friday after Wood was bumped back a few days to Monday, meaning Wood should be ok. Urias had a 1.10 ERA in 41 AAA innings, with 44 K’s vs only 8 walks. He has more K’s than base runners allowed. He’ll also get to add to that right away as the Dodgers shipped him right back down after the game after allowing 3 ER on 5 hits and 4 walks in only 2.2 innings. Yu didn’t really start him last night did Yu?

Finally some Hot Stove news worth talking about:  Dennis Lynn of the San Diego UnionShieldsPadres021115 Tribune reported at [3:30]PM EST today (SAT) that talks are heating up and have traction between the Chisox and Padres on a trade centered around James Shields, SD. It is not yet known who would go to SD, or how much of the over $60M Shields is still owed would be eaten by the Padres. It is also not known how many HR Big Game James will give up in the homer happy U.S. Cellular Field, which is a bit easier to hit in than Petco in SD. I would not adjust his value at all.

Trivia Question: What AL SP gets lucky next week and faces the two worst AL offenses in a 2 start WEEK 9?

Are Yu ready to talk about the coming week? Let’s go:

SPOT STARTS – Some old friends and some new ones:

  1. CC Sabathia, NYY (13.2% to 42.3% owned, twice the prior week) @ TOR, TUE:  I spoke large_cc-sabathia-new-york-yankees-625a lot about CC last week, but he took it another step further notching his 4th QS in a row while giving up no earned runs for the 2nd time in three starts. Last week I also said, “I can’t in good conscience recommend him for his start vs TOR, THU.” I said that prematurely, as in fact CC has a 15-7 record in 22 lifetime starts vs. Toronto, with the same 3.21 ERA both at home and at Roger’s Field where they will play each other again this Tuesday. Last Tuesday CC threw 7 shutout innings giving up 2 hits, a walk and nailing 7 K’s vs those same Jays at home. Why didn’t I pick him up for that?
  2. **Two Starts** Matt Wisler, ATL (27.5% to 71.1% owned) Vs SF, TUE & @ LAD, SUN:  Well, his ownership is finally rising above the level where I can include him wisler spidermanhere, but he is still available in 30% of Fantrax and 70% of the ESPN Universe. Again, “Pick up Matt Wisler already.”  The 23-year-old just cranked out another QS, his 5th in a row and 6th in his last 7 starts. His 3.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP are a big help, especially if you own Michael Pineda, and those ratios make his lack of K’s and W’s more palatable. This week he gets the Giants at home in ATL, whose .248 average is 30 points lower than their BA at home. The Giants also hit 30 points lower vs righties than lefties, making this one of those perfect storm picks. On Sunday Wisler travels to LA to face a Dodgers team hitting .222 at home, and also batting .222 vs the Braves in their last 3 games over 110 AB’s.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  3. Doug Fister, SP, HOU (13% to 54% owned) Vs OAK, FRI: Fister missedfister notching his 7th consecutive QS by 1/3 of an inning Tue vs BAL. In fact, Fister has given up 3 runs or less in 8 of his last 9 starts in 2016. He’s becoming Mr. Reliable again, and next week gets Oakland in Houston on Friday. Oakland is hitting .245 vs righties and is one of the least walking teams in the AL. That is important as the one area Fister is having some trouble with is the walks. He also won;t get you a ton of K’s either but if you need a spot start Quality Start next week, Fister is your man. He also starts today at LAA and why not grab him now if you need the start?
  4. **Two Starts** Matt Andriese, TB (37.3% to 62.3% owned) @ KC, MON & @ MIN SAT:  In his small sample size (4 starts) in 2016, andriese.jpgAndriese has been impressive, with a 3-0 record and 3 QS out of 4 starts including a 2 hit, no walk, 9 inning shut out vs the Oakland A’s. The A’s seem to have a similar offense to both the Twins and Royals right about now. The Twins and Royals are tied for the lowest amount of runs per game this season and Andriese gets them both next week. Look how high his ownership is already. He won’t be available much longer if he keeps this up.
  5. Nick Tropeano, LAA (13.5% to 51.0% owned) @ PIT, SAT:  Still lounging around on the wire in at least 50% of all leagues, Tropeano is only getting better. In his last two starts Trope is 2-0 with only 1 run allowed, with 10 K’s vs 3 BB in 14 innings. In his 9 MLB starts beginning in April, Nick has never gone below 5 IP and in 7 of those starts he’s given up less than 3 runs.  So far, the only knocks have been a lack of K’s and not going deep enough into games. Both of those issues are improving, albeit in small increments. Like Fister, if you need a QS from a spot start, Trope is showing good reliability, even if not an ace quality game.                                                                                                                                                    
  6. Michael Fulmer, DET (6.2% to 46% owned) Vs NYY, THU:  I think Fulmer is starting to settle into Detroit’s rotation, and this week he gets the Yanks at home. While the Yanks have been hitting a little better lately, theyfullmer.jpg are hitting .234 on the road and .237 vs RH pitching. They are 2nd to last in the AL in runs scored and tied for 2nd to last in BA. In Fulmer’s last start he got a win @ OAK going 7.2 IP with no runs 3 hits and a walk, and that was following 7 IP with 4 H, 1 BB, 1 R and 11 strikouts against Tampa. Granted it was against the Rays and A’s but those are the games you are supposed to win, no? Besides, are the Yanks that much better right now? Fulmer has to watch the walks and HR, plus he won’t K 11 per game although he did have a K/9 of around 9.0 in the minors along with some very low HR and Walk rates.I’m not going to be afraid to use him anywhere but Boston or Colorado.
  7. **Two Starts** Junior Guerra, MIL (17.8% to 47.7% owned) – MON VS STL & SAT @ PHI:  Guerra ownership has doubled in the past week. Last call anyone! In AAA he guerra.jpgstruck out 154 batters in 140 IP, had a 3.02 ERA and much lower walk and HR rates than he showed in Mexico . The 31 year old rookie is 3-0 in May for the Brewers, and in his brief career he has a 3.96 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 24 K’s in four MLB starts in 2016. Last week he pitched 5 shutout innings in Atlanta with another 6 K’s, although the walks started creeping in with 4 in the 5 innings. The start prior to that was his most dominant last Thursday vs the Cubs when Guerra went 7 IP with 5 H, 3 BB, 3 ER, and 11 strikeouts. He gets the tough Card’s Monday and then the Phils Saturday. Because he’s one of the new Fantasy Toys, if he gets by the Cards, you know he will be universally owned after that start. Even if you’re nervous about him walking the veteran Cards offense, you need to grab him anyway if you want the Phils start. I’ll put him out there for both since no one from those teams has faced him yet.                                                                                                                           NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART:
  8. Christian Friedrich, SD (.4% to 5% owned) Vs SEA WED: Once a top prospect in the Rockies system, Friedrich had some injuries and Colorado turned him into afriedrich.jpg reliever a few years back. Now, almost 29, he finds himself in the SD starting rotation alongside fellow top prospect turned reliever Drew Pomeranz. After a couple of rough starts against the Dodgers and Brewers where he gave up too many walks, Friedrich settled down last week against the Diamondbacks in the desert going 7 shutout innings for a win, giving up only 3 hits and a walk. He may not be a big strikeout pitcher like he was in the minors, but I like his start against the M’s in SD Wednesday. The M’s are only hitting .243 vs lefties and SD is no fun to hit in anyway.
  9. **Two Starts** Jeff Locke, PIT (3.3% to 25% owned) @ MIA MON & Vs LAA,SUN: This may be a bit of a reach, but if you are in a deep league and need a 2 start pitcher lockeyou could do a lot worse. First he gets the Marlins in Miami where he has a 2.49 ERA (3.00 ERA vs MIA overall). The Fish have a good BA vs lefties but for some reason have trouble scoring runs vs them. They are also hitting 20 points lower at home than on the road. The Angels come to Pittsburgh on Saturday and have a .237 BA vs lefties. This is odd considering both Trout and Pujols hit right handed, but Trout is hitting 53 points lower against lefties than righties this season and Pujols is hitting .225 vs lefties this season. So, there ya go. Looking at this picture though, I’d say that his girlfriend Celine MaClean looks more comfortable in front of a camera than the deer in the headlights Jeff.

Almost made the cut:  Eddie Butler, COL (17% owned) @ SD FRI, the Rockies staff gets a break in SD next week; Cesar Vargas, SD (17% owned) Vs SEA, THU; Sean Manaea, OAK (46% owned) Vs MIN WED; Derek Holland, TEX (11% to 52% owned) @ CLE TUE. 


Dan Straily, SP, CIN (9.4% to 33% owned) @ COL, TUE: Tempting guy to use lately, especially after the 11 K’s in his last start, but not there. Watch the .419 FIP & .225 Babip start to eat at his ERA in Cinci.

R.A. Dickey, TOR, (24.7% to 47% owned) @ BOS, SAT: He gets the Sox at home today (Sunday) and then visits them again next Saturday. His lifetime ERA vs Boston is 4.50, in 2015 it was 4.60, and this season 7.45 after two starts. He does pitch better against them in Boston than Toronto if you have no choice but to start him this week. Buy a lot of beer.

Anibal Sanchez, DET (52% owned)@ LAA, TUE & Vs CHW, SUN: People looking at the wire for 2 start pitchers may see this name and forget how bad he has been lately. Something has to be wrong with him, as he’s given up 40 HR in his last 200 IP.

Closer Merry-Go-Round:

The merry-go-round has stopped for a moment. That is right, I said that. But that means the wheels are likely about to fall off, no? Put your seat belts on and get a CLEW or two ready. No changes seem imminent in the closer ranks, but the 6 runs David Robertson, CHW gave up yesterday in a blown save were loud enough that Nate Jones, CHW was one of the most added relievers in baseball over night. He should have been owned anyway, but you see what I’m saying. Carson Smith, BOS will indeed have TJ surgery. One less CLEW to go around. Bad timing as well as Craig Kimbrel, BOS blew a save yesterday too. Kay, that was his 2nd this season, so no one will be worried about him.

*”CLEW” = Closer En Waiting

** IRS + H = Inherited Runners stranded plus Holds

See you next week. Thanks for reading.


(Click the RED link to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday June 2nd , 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #13 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Our Thursday night show will do some weekly recaps, player updates, and preview the coming week end games.

Our guest this week is Nick DeSisto. Nick is an owner in MLFB3 and MLFB4 as well as a frequent guest on our baseball shows.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”


(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday June 5th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Every week we will do a quick recap of Fr-Sat games, and a forecast of Monday through Thursday’s games.

Our guests this week are Coach Andy Macuga and Jesse Ellison. Andy is the Head Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in the Northern San Diego area of Southern California and a seasoned Major League Fantasy Sports owner. Jesse Ellison is a child hood friend of mine I grew up playing baseball with amongst other sports. He is also the owner of Ellison Baseball Instruction camps in South East Virginia. You can find his camps at

“You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I'm an accountant and an amateur writer of fiction and sports commentary, mostly baseball. I've been a student of the game of baseball since the Dinosaurs roamed the earth, or at least since a few years before the world knew what a designated hitter was. Otherwise, I like "antique" cars of the 60's and 70's and have been a fantasy baseball fanatic since my first draft many years ago. I live in CT with my wife Megan of 25 years, our daughter Caitlin and their (their) cats. I'm also the better looking of the two guys in the the photo.



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